Archive for Friday, August 11, 2006

Lawrence travelers see elevated security

August 11, 2006

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When she has a flight to catch, Kansas University women's basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson tries to be at the airport 90 minutes ahead of time.

Thursday was different.

"I better give myself two and a half hours," she said. She'd returned home to repack after hearing that passengers were being discouraged from taking carry-on luggage. That change happened after British authorities foiled a terrorist plot to blow up jets headed for the United States.

Security officials tightened searches and banned cosmetic lotions, beverages and other nonessential liquids from carry-on luggage.

Henrickson, who grew up in Willmar, Minn., had a 6:45 p.m. flight to Minneapolis.

"I have a high school reunion," she said.

She didn't mind the inconvenience.

"When 9-11 happened, I was a mile from the Pentagon recruiting" for Virginia Tech, she said. "I felt the plane hit. I couldn't see it, but I felt it."

Unaware of her whereabouts, her family flooded her cell phone with calls.

KCI stiffens security

Kansas City International Airport implemented new rules Thursday that prohibit liquids and gels in carry-on luggage. Enlarge video

6News anchor Deanna Richards reports on the situation at KCI.

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"I remember my younger sister saying 'Where are you? I know you're traveling. Are you flying?'" Henrickson said. "She was just bawling."

When the plane struck the Pentagon, Henrickson said she was driving, "going from high school to high school in the D.C. area."

Later, she flew on one of the first flights allowed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"I remember there were like three of us on the whole plane because people were afraid to fly," she said.

Extra security evident

Late-morning travelers didn't seem too put out by hasty new security measures put into place Thursday at Kansas City International Airport.

"We heard about it early this morning," said Howard Rytting, a Kansas University pharmacy professor who was seeing off his granddaughter. "The only change was that we left an hour early."

Rytting, a Kansas University pharmacy professor, was making sure his granddaughter, Joanna Barnum, 12, was getting safely aboard a plane back home to her family in Parker, Colo.

"I don't think anything is any different than it was yesterday," he said. "In fact, it may be safer because of the extra security."

That extra security was evident. More law enforcement and airline security officers and canine patrols were on duty, said Joe McBride, a KCI spokesman.

Signs posted in the airport warned passengers they couldn't take most liquids or gels in their carry-on luggage.

McBride said liquids and gels were allowed in checked baggage. He suggested that travelers see www.tsa.gov for a list of banned items.

Some passengers who arrived at the airport early had to ditch many personal items.

Dozens of tubes, bottles and cans containing everything from toothpaste to anti-itch cream were piled in plastic tubs in the baggage screening area.

"I emptied all my goodies out," Sharon O'Brien said as she waited in line at the Southwest Airlines ticket area. "I'm not a bag-checker. For me, this is a big deal to check my bag."

'Watching world events'

State officials in Topeka said Thursday they were keeping an eye on developments from the uncovered plot to bomb flights from Britain to the United States.

"The state is watching to see if there are any spinoff concerns," said Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, the Kansas National Guard adjutant general and director of Kansas Homeland Security.

The state's alert condition was unchanged at yellow, which denotes an elevated risk of attack.

"We've probably picked up our vigilance a little more. We will be watching world events," Bunting said.

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Bunting said state and federal homeland security officials were working together. So far, he said, the concerns seem to be focused on travel between England and United States.

He noted that federal officials are in charge of security at the two major airports that serve Kansans: Kansas City International and Wichita Mid-Continent.

Got any shampoo?

Thousands of air travelers had to dispose of their shampoo, mouthwash and cosmetics Thursday.

So when they arrived at their destination, they had to resupply.

"We have a 'forgotten items' drawer that's well-stocked with things like toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, lotions - those kinds of things," said Michael Moore, general manager at SpringHill Suites by Marriott in Lawrence.

"We haven't had anybody come in who had to leave their (toiletries) at the airport," he said. "If we do, we'll certainly help them out."

- Staff writers Dave Ranney, Dave Toplikar and Scott Rothschild contributed to this story.

Comments

prioress 8 years, 8 months ago

Interesting; hate and creativity have no bounds, do they? The most recent Crusade is being fought in the skies and in laboratories around the world. Let's hope our folks are training more Arabic speakers who "look the part" and can infiltrate groups of plotters. For too long, we ignored human intelligence assets, creating an overreliance on satellites, phone taps, and other matters. The only way to beat the bad guys is to get inside their heads and inside their organizations.

Gareth Skarka 8 years, 8 months ago

For those of you naive readers who refused to believe yesterday that the Republicans were blowing this whole thing out of proportion for their own political advantage:

They admit it: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060810/pl_afp/britainattacksairline_060810185330

But by all means, continue to drink the Kool-Aid, red-staters.

acg 8 years, 8 months ago

Is this news? Oh no, two Lawrence residents have to wait longer at the airport? They had to give up their shampoo? SAY IT AIN'T SO!! Puke, this bores me.

craigers 8 years, 8 months ago

Gareth if you don't think the democrats would use something like this to their advantage if they had a part in it, then you are sadly duped by your own allegiance.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 8 months ago

amazing how americans can turn an international problem into a political one here. People this is all about security your mine and the screaming baby two seat away.

compmd 8 years, 8 months ago

I will continue to fly out of lawrence municipal airport. its small, quiet, and I don't have to wait in lines. and if you think private flight is more expensive, consider that a decent used cessna costs less than many luxury suvs, goes almost twice as fast, and burns less fuel. I'm a big fan of an "airline" where you buy the pilot some beer and pay for your gas. or, you could just fly yourself. I'm very tempted to get a few guys to go in on a former czech republic fighter trainer jet. I'd rather have that than a tricked out escalade; they're the same price.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 8 months ago

sounds like a plan and no major hassel I say go for it.

Gareth Skarka 8 years, 8 months ago

craigers -- yeah, I must've been absent the day that the Clinton administration used the Khobar towers bombing to enact new rules to solidify their authority.

...or they day the Carter administration used the taking of the hostages in Iran to enact domestic surveillance programs that circumvent the Constitution.

...or the day the Johnson Administration used the Tet Offensive to suggest that the nation would be less safe if the Republicans gained control of Congress. (As Cheney did yesterday, saying that Democrat wins "embolden Al-Queda types")

Shall I continue?

laughingatallofu 8 years, 8 months ago

acg,

I see that you've posted on the story on the Jayhawk dance team as well. Which story is more boring to you? Seems like you're just bored, Period. Maybe you can un-bore yourself by thinking of strategies to conserve electrons! Someday, those electrons might be as rare a commodity as the conservatives on the SBOE! (Sorry, I couldn't help myself!)

Have a great day, y'all!

cutny 8 years, 8 months ago

By all means Gareth, continue. You've only managed to come up with 3 fairly weak examples that cover, oh, I don't know, the last 50 YEARS!!! Yes, that Carter, he was a devious one...zzzzzzz

Gareth Skarka 8 years, 8 months ago

It's called scarcasm, halfwit. OK, I'll make it easy for you: Come up with one example, where, as Craigers charged, the Democrats used a national security issue to their advantage to make a grab for more power.

dizzy_from_your_spin 8 years, 8 months ago

You mean like Clinton bombing the aspirin factory before his court testimony?

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